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SCAFFOLDing all abilities into makerspaces: a design framework for universal, accessible and intersectionally inclusive making and learning

JooYoung Seo (School of Information Sciences, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Champaign, Illinois, United States Of America)
Gabriela T. Richard (Department of Learning and Performance Systems, Pennsylvania State University University Park, Pennsylvania, United States Of America)

Information and Learning Sciences

ISSN: 2398-5348

Article publication date: 1 November 2021

Issue publication date: 17 November 2021




In response to the underexplored need for holistically inclusive makerspaces for learning, we put propose the “SCAFFOLD” framework, which considers equity, inclusion and accessibility in the design of spaces and activities for socioculturally diverse learners.


This paper proposes a universal design (UD) framework that is intersectionally inclusive for learners with diverse needs in makerspaces and maker activities. This paper provides conjecture mapping to put forth theoretical and empirical arguments for the design of holistically inclusive makerspaces that consider gender equity and cultural inclusivity, as well as accessibility for diverse learners with divergent and unique abilities and dis/abilities.


Combining related literature and three existing UD frameworks (i.e. UD, web accessibility and UD for learning) and prior research on equity and inclusivity in making, this paper proposes the integration of eight principles, which leverage individuals’ diverse abilities to become agentic makers: simplicity, collaboration, accessibility, flexibility, fail-safe, object-oriented, linkability and diversity.

Research limitations/implications

Researchers who have implemented conjecture maps (Lee et al., 2018) have found them to be useful for developing theory and learning designs grounded in research and practice. However, it should be noted that design research is iterative and contextual, and conjecture maps are effective in providing visibility and rigor, but are meant to be flexible and responsive to changes in context (Lee et al., 2018; Sandoval, 2014).


This paper provides practical guidelines and principles for researchers, educators, instructional designers and product developers to assess and redesign makerspaces and activities that are intersectionally and universally inclusive, equitable and accessible.



Seo, J. and Richard, G.T. (2021), "SCAFFOLDing all abilities into makerspaces: a design framework for universal, accessible and intersectionally inclusive making and learning", Information and Learning Sciences, Vol. 122 No. 11/12, pp. 795-815.



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